Tuesday, February 3, 2009

City of Vancouver Employees

Employees at the City of Vancouver are keenly aware of the economic hardships being faced by many (if not most) of the citizens in our community. Times are tough, and while City Hall may still see raising taxes as the only solution to budget woes, at least employees and individual departments are making sacrifices.

Recently, the IAFF Local 452 (firefighters union) opted out of the 2009 Cost of Living adjustment, allowing the City to re-allocate some $700k in salary costs. That money will now be used to improve staffing levels, and specifically to allow for staffing of a new fire station in east Vancouver. A press conference was held to announce this action, and there was coverage in the Columbian.

Other city employees have also made sacrifices, but have not received the press coverage. For example, all management (non-represented) staff have also agreed to waive their COLAs. And, besides compensation, city departments are making strides toward efficient use of resources. At City Operations, one focus has been on reducing fuel consumption. Between July and November of 2007, Ops saved 7,500 gallons of fuel, thus reducing energy use, exhaust fumes and saving taxpayer monies. The City's Parks & Recreation department is to be commended for the 100%+ cost recovery in operations at Firstenburg Community Center. Nice work!

I suspect there are other cost savings going on around the city that I haven't been made aware of...but the point is that indeed, city employees are part of our community and do recognize the tough times we are all facing. I'm pleased to see the effort and creative actions being taken; with forward-thinking leadership, this kind of sustainable operation will become typical...

Portland Music Awards

I'd like to congratulate Craig Marquardo, Publisher/Editor of the Music Spectator magazine and organizer of the Portland Music Awards for another successful event. It was well attended with an enthusiastic audience. We were treated to great performances by many known and up-and-coming local talents.

One of Vancouver's own talented performers, Kristina Rae, was nominated for Best Female Artist. Well...Kristina won!!! She is a fantastic singer and performer whom I suspect will have a long, successful career.

I was fortunate to also be asked to present with Shel Bailey a couple of awards, including Best Album and Best Male Artist. During our presentation, it was of course a good opportunity to plug the 'Couve and venues here for performances...so I did mention Top Shelf, Cascade Tavern and Blackstone as at least a few. My bad that I neglected to mention Tommy O's, because indeed Sunday nights are fantastic at the downtown restaurant!

Comcast Cable sponsored and taped the show. It will be available On Demand after February 16th.
For the Music Spectator Magazine website, check out: www.musicspectator.com

Maybe next year we host the event in the 'Couve!?!